13 Jul Pregnancy: Month 5: A Physiotherapist’s Professional Opinion
This month the fetus would have grown to the size of a melon. The fetus is growing quickly and gains on average 28 grams per day. From 21 weeks you will start to feel your little bundle’s arm punches and kicks in your womb. This is another exciting milestone in your pregnancy. However, increased pressure of the uterus in combination with the increased movement and size of the fetus puts more strain on your bladder leading to more frequent trips to the bathroom.
As the hormones have been working hard at loosening the ligaments and cartilage in your joints, the effects of this can now be felt in your feet. The arches of your feet will begin to flatten to compensate for the increase in your body weight. You may find that you need to wear a half to one shoe size bigger. Most women will start experiencing a mild amount of swelling of their feet and ankles by 22 weeks. This can be minimized by moving your feet when you are not moving around. Do not stay in one position during sleeping or sitting for a long period of time.
Prostaglandin, along with a couple of other hormones, affects the pigmentation of your skin. A darkened line from your belly button to your pelvis will now be visible. This line is termed linea nigra and it will disappear after birth as your hormones return to normal.
Your hair will become thicker and, in some instances, change in texture. Most women will comment that their hair looks shiny and sleek. This is because of the effect pregnancy hormones have on your hair growth cycle. You do not shed hair as often as before pregnancy and this is what gives the appearance of thicker hair. The same hormones will make your nails will grow faster during pregnancy.
The blood flow to your mucous membranes increases as the level of pregnancy hormones increase. Your nose and sinuses will be mostly affected. This can lead to congestion and you may even start snoring for the first time in your life. Your doctor can prescribe some safe medications. Nebulizing with a saline solution can provide some relief. Avoid drying out the air with artificial heat and cool air. Drinking enough water will aid with the hydration of the mucous membranes.
EXERCISE OF THE MONTH: CLAMS
1. Lie on your side with both legs comfortably bent (hips at 45°), the side you wish to exercise on top.
2. Keep your top hand on your top hip to improve your awareness of your pelvic position which needs to be maintained throughout.
3. The top pelvic bone and the top foot are to lie directly above the lower pelvis and foot respectively throughout.
4. With the lower tummy gently pulled in, raise the top knee away from the bottom knee as far as possible and hold for 5-10 seconds before slowly lowering.
5.Keep the ankles together when raising the top knee away from the lower knee